08 March 2019
KEY WEST, Fla. — Nathaniel Linville of Key West caught and released two permit to win the 2019 March Merkin Permit Tournament that ended March 7. 
Linville scored 230 points to become the tournament’s grand champion angler, a title awarded for catching the most inches of the wily sport fish while fly-fishing on the flats.
On the first fishing day Linville released a 31.75-inch permit, recognized as the tournament’s largest, followed on the third and final day with a fish measuring 25.75 inches.
His guide was Captain John O’Hearn of Key West, who was named guide to the grand champion.
The tournament’s first runner-up angler was Scott Harkins of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Guided by Montana’s Captain Kris Suplee, Harkins released a 29-inch fish that earned him 116 points. 
Clint Packo of Littleton, Colorado, was named second runner-up angler for releasing a 24.75-inch permit worth 99 points. Packo’s guide was Captain Simon Becker of Cudjoe Key, Florida. 
Twenty-four teams of permit enthusiasts fished the tournament. Proceeds benefit the Lower Keys Guides Association and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, which helps conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats in the Western Hemisphere.

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